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The Family Upstairs‘ Back-of-Book Description
A GOOD MORNING AMERICA COVER TO COVER BOOK CLUB PICK
“Rich, dark, and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author
“A haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read.” —Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author
From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.
Be careful who you let in.
Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.
She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.
Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.
In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.
There’s a pretty solid theme with my book reviews lately…they have all been Book of The Month choices! (If you havent heard of that, read my review of BOTM here.) And the theme continues- this is the book I chose in November of 2019 i think because it’s description seemed mysterious and suspenseful. Flash forward to March and I guess I was looking for just that kind of escape!
The Family Upstairs seemed like the perfect distraction to the current climate (as I write this, we’re in the middle – or maybe [hopefully] nearing the end of the Covid-19 pandemic). And I think ultimately it was!
It took me a little while to get into it. This may have been due to the British setting and general writing style. But once I got into the flow of it, I settled right in. (Also, once I finished the show I was currently binging, that helped to get into it more, too.) It’s told from a few different viewpoints, as well as two different time periods, which I generally like about a novel. I feel like that turns the end of each little chapter the perfect stopping point, or a delightful cliffhanger.
While I liked the dialogue between all the characters, and most of the inner character narration, there were things about the individual characters I didn’t like all that much. The main thing being their development. None of them seem to be completely finished feeling, ya know?
Perhaps that’s a common element with mysteries – more work goes into the plot and not so much into the characters? In any case, it was enjoyable to read and watch the plot unfold. I just found myself wondering a few things throughout and at the end.
The setting descriptions were fine and I had no trouble picturing the settings and characters. The overall story felt plausible and exciting without being scary or offputting. It was just mysterious and suspenseful enough to get me through.
Favorite Quotes From The Family Upstairs
“…the only way to really know what was going on in the world was to listen to women talk. Anyone who ignores the chatter of women is poorer by measure.”
“All men are weak. That’s the whole bloody trouble with the world. Too weak to love properly, too weak to be wrong.”
“The weakness of men lay at the root of every bad thing that had ever happened.”
“They weren’t bad books, they were books that you didn’t enjoy. It’s not the same thing at all…Any book that has been published is going to be a ‘good book’ for someone.”
*This is not a man-bashing book. I just happened to like the snarky lines about men. Those two were both in the same paragraph, said by a character who had been treated poorly by powerful men.
I’m gonna say 3 stars. While it’s not my favorite book ever, The Family Upstairs was a nice, welcome distraction to the world, and I can see myself possibly reading more of her books. I think the author has about sixteen other novels, so if I wanted to there would be a lot to choose from!
It was a fine read with no major complaints. just not very exceptional either. I’d recommend this to people who like British mystery and suspense books, and/or interesting family dramas.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review – there’s more reviews of other great books here.
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